Travelling to Tasmania
  |  First Published: April 2011

It is widely acknowledged that Tasmania has some of the most diverse fishing opportunities in Australia.

But how to take full advantage of this state of piscatorial plenty? Well two answers would be to take plenty of gear and to take your boat!

The Spirit Advantage

The expanse of water between Victoria and Tasmania is known as Bass Strait, and while many Tasmanians are happy that this stretch of water keeps Tasmania a unique and peaceful place, there is a simple way to get across it.

Spirit of Tasmania runs two ships on a nightly basis 365 days a year across Bass Strait between Port Melbourne and Devonport. In the peak times between November and March there are both day and night sailings, effectively doubling the opportunities to get to Tasmania and back again.

Spirits’ One I and II Two pass each other in the middle of Bass Strait – leaving each port at 8pm 7.30pm in the evening and arriving at 6am the following morning. This is perfect for the travelling angler, as you arrive in Tasmania fresh after a good night’s sleep ready to start the best fishing adventure you could wish for.

Both ships are identical, so there is no need to juggle any arrangements, and with masses of space on each ship for cars and boats, you are only limited by your capacity to plan, and how much time you can spend in Tasmania.

Fishing Opportunities

There is always some feature fishing available in Tasmania. Whether it is the spring and summer trout fishing, the autumn bream fishing or the magnificent southern bluefin tuna fishing in the autumn and early winter, there is plenty to experience.

Depending upon what species you wish to target, there is something on offer 12 months of the year.

Spring, summer and autumn sees the best of the trout fishing, with the highland lakes very popular from November through to mid-March.

The small stream trout fishing is excellent from October to the end of April when the brown trout season closes, and the option of taking your own car really suits this, as this allows the flexibility to move between streams at will.

From December to May the bream fishing is at its peak, with awesome destinations all over the north, east and south eastern part of the state. Some of the best bream fishing can be in small, shallow coastal lagoons in the north east of the state. These lagoons allow the wading angler to be in touch with amazing bream fishing whilst wading sandy flats.

The big game fishing for southern bluefin tuna really hits its straps in April, and can often continue right through the colder months.

The beach fishing on the east coast is superb right throughout the year, and such is the climate on the north east coast – you could well be fishing in shorts during July! In fact, the surf fishing is awesome in Tasmania during the cooler months, perfect for combining some fishing with a tour of the state.

Take your own car

Spirit of Tasmania is specifically set up to allow the traveller to take their own car across Bass Strait. The advantages of this are many. Airlines only allow 23kg of luggage at best, with some even less than that. Length restrictions apply on planes, but not on Spirit of Tasmania.

You can pack all the tackle you need, (and some you probably won’t) – long rods, short rods, eskies, tents clothes – what ever you think you will need.

This is especially important when planning your trip to Tasmania, as so varied are the fishing options are so varied you will need a wide choice of tackle.

Rates for cars vary according to the time of year, A standard car costs $79 each way, (vehicle restrictions apply). so Iit pays to check on-line at spiritoftasmania.com.au for the latest deals or ring the friendly call centre for a personalised way to book on 13 20 10.

Kayak Friendly

Depending upon the overall height of your vehicle and kayak, Spirit of Tasmania is the perfect way to expand the horizons. The potential for kayak fishing in Tasmania is unlimited. The bigger trout streams such as the South Esk and upper Derwent are just begging to be explored with a kayak. Many of these bigger rivers are bounded by extensive areas of private property, which usually prevent access to some very tasty water.

However with a kayak there are no restrictions on where you can go on the water, and will open up some very interesting options.

The same goes with bream fishing. Many of the shallow estuaries and lagoons such as the Scamander and Musselroe rivers, Grants Lagoon, Moulting Lagoon on the Swan River and many small estuaries along the east coast are prime destinations for big bream.

These bream are very spooky when bigger boats arrive, but the kayak angler with the low profile can extract some great specimens.

Take your own boat

Now this is the big one. Just about anyone will tell you that the best way to take advantage of Tasmania’s trout fishery is by boat. The highland lakes are excellent shore based fisheries, but you are far more flexible by being afloat.

The legendary windlanes and mayfly hatches are best tackled from a boat, and for the spin enthusiast you will treble you daily catch simply by being afloat.

Big opportunity for game fishers

Tasmanian waters are host to some massive southern bluefin tuna – record breakers in fact. Now Portland has the same run of fish, but when you consider that most of the 100kg+ tuna landed in Tasmania are less than 20 minutes from the ramp, the possibilities begin to become certainties.

Given that for most Victorian SBT chasers a 6 hour drive to western Victoria, followed by a couple of hours boat drive to the shelf is normal – the fuel savings alone will justify an extended tuna trip to Tasmania.

The best fishing for SBT is based at Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula, around 60 minutes from Hobart or an easy 2.5hr drive from Devonport.

Once on the peninsula you are only a short squirt to the best tuna waters around the various cliffs and islands not far from Pirates Bay ramp.

The Tuna Club of Tasmania has a great facility there to weigh in your jumbo SBT.

Given that a few world records have fallen here over the years in May and June, it could well be the better answer than that massive drive down the Princess Highway.

Getting Booked

The easiest way to get booked onto Spirit of Tasmania is to jump online at www. spiritortasmania.com.au . From there follow the booking links, fill in your details and you are as good as in Tasmania.

There are a number of ways to be comfortable on the ship. You can either book a cabin and have a great nights sleep, or book one of the very comfortable recliner chairs if you need to save a few dollars to spend on more fishing tackle.

For the travelling family I wholeheartedly recommend getting a cabin, as they have a shower and toilet as well as comfy bunks.

If you plan to tow your floating pride and joy across the Strait, then you will needto can book online or phone the call centre, where the friendly staff will help you with all the arrangements. Make sure you have the total length and height of your car and boat handy, as well as the rego numbers for the car and boat.

There is nothing difficult about taking your boat onto the ship, as this will simply be driven on the same as all the other cars. The crew responsible for loading the ship fully understand about boats and will help you get boarded with the minimum of hassle.

The angling opportunities in Tasmania are too good to let slip for too long – why not plan for an extended fishing holiday in Tasmania this year and combine some world-class fishing with some world-class tourism by virtue of a world-class ship – Spirit of Tasmania.

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